City staff has proposed several changes to transportation code, some of which affect how crosswalks are regulated. The changes were presented to council on Nov. 15 and the first reading was approved, which means that the changes will be discussed in more detail this Tuesday.
If the changes are approved as presented, drivers will have to stop at a crosswalk if another driver has already stopped to let a pedestrian cross. This is common sense and brings the city's regulations into line with state law.
The changes affecting pedestrians and cyclists are more impactful.
Pedestrians using a crosswalk with an alert system, like the flashing yellow lights found around town, are only allowed to do so after the lights have been activated. Some pedestrians avoid triggering the flashing lights if there is plenty of time to cross and they don't want to inconvenience drivers.
However, I believe this is a reasonable requirement. Making the use of the lights more consistent will help with drivers' expectations. And if there is an accident in which the pedestrian didn't activate the signal, it will help assign responsibility.
The remaining crosswalk changes restrict the speed of bikes in crosswalks.
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